In July 2011, we opened the doors to sixteen new galleries in the transformed National Museum of Scotland. Now, seven million visitors later, we’re planning on opening ten more new galleries, to showcase our internationally important collections of decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology.

We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed a grant of £4.85 million to help fund these galleries, which are due to open in 2016. This major award means that over £10 million of funding is now in place for the project, including £900,000 from the Scottish Government to renew the roof of the west wing of the Victorian building, where some of the new galleries will be located. A fundraising campaign is underway to realise the remainder from private sources.

Please note some galleries are currently closed to make way for the development.

Celebrating innovation

The innovative new galleries will explore the excitement and impact of scientific discovery and invention and the creativity of applied arts, fashion and design. They will champion excellence and innovation - an inspiration for the scientists, engineers, artists and designers of today and tomorrow. Showcasing over 3,500 objects, display space for these exhibits will increase by over 40%, with three-quarters of them not having previously been on permanent display for generations.

 Artist's impression of the new Science and Technology galleries

Above: Artist's impression of new Science and Technology galleries.

The development is the third stage of an ambitious £80 million Masterplan to restore the much loved Victorian building to its former grandeur, reveal the remarkable treasures of National Museums Scotland’s collections and create inspiring visitor experiences.

Star sights

Six Wedgwood plates designed by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, a flamboyant coat by internationally renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, an early camera by William Henry Fox Talbot, the father of photography, and a state of the art prosthetic i-limb designed by Scottish firm Touch Bionics are just a selection from the outstanding collections which will be displayed in the new galleries.

Objects for the new galleries

Above: Wedgwood plate designed by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (© Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2015), coat by Zandra Rhodes (© Zandra Rhodes) and calotype camera by Henry Fox Talbot.

Glasgow centrepiece

Above: The Glasgow Centrepiece by Roger Millar, incorporates elements from Glasgow's coat of arms; commissioned by the Scottish Gallery as part of their Millennium Silver exhibition.

Science engagement

Across the new science and technology galleries, real objects and engaging interpretation will tell inspiring stories about scientists, technologists and engineers including those with Scottish connections, past and present. Thanks to a grant of £1.3 million from the Wellcome Trust, the galleries will also reveal the secrets of biomedical science.

The funding will help create a Scottish centre for scientific engagement, inspiring visitors through Scotland’s world-class collections of science and technology and making the Museum a major hub for science communication and dialogue.

The topics covered will include the science of genetics (where Dolly the sheep will be a focal point), the development of new pharmaceuticals (including the work of Scottish Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir James Black to develop Beta Blockers and other medicines) and advances in prosthetics and body implants. A key element of the displays will be contemporary developments, with a strong focus on encouraging debate and discussion.

Dolly the sheep in the Connect gallery

Above: Dolly the sheep.

You can find out more about the award from the Wellcome Trust here.

Ancient Egypt and East Asia

We also plan to develop two further galleries at the National Museum, to present our ancient Egyptian and East Asian collections. Both of these collections are internationally important and amongst the finest in the UK.

A new Ancient Egypt gallery will explore the complexity and diversity of this fascinating culture. The East Asia gallery will highlight major themes in the region’s arts, culture and history, enabling visitors to encounter and be inspired by the richness, depth, and diversity of the culture of China, Japan and Korea. These two galleries are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Gallery closures

To make way for the redesign and transformation of the existing spaces, the following galleries are now closed and their objects decanted into storage: Looking East, European Styles, Shaping our World, Ancient Egypt, Connect, Communicate and Art and Industry.

The National Museum of Scotland remains open throughout the redevelopment with plenty to see and do throughout its galleries of Natural Science, World Cultures and Scottish History and Archaeology.

Access to the Research Library

The Research Library will remain open as usual during the project, but visitors wishing to use the service should make an appointment beforehand. Email or call 0131 247 4137 to make an appointment.

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